What does the Church say about abortion?

Christians should first remember the "golden rule," attested to by all the great moral traditions of humanity1, and accepted by many of the greatest philosophers.2 This "golden rule" is reaffirmed and brought to its perfection in the Gospel: "Do unto do to others what you would have them do unto you".3

Christians must also recall that, according to Scripture, murderers will not enter the Kingdom of God.4

Finally, we must realize that abortion is not just one sin among others concerning the respect due human life, but by reason of the extreme weakness of the victim, it is an "abominable crime."5

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  1. "What you hold as detestable do not do unto your neighbor" (Judaic tradition); "The summary of duty: do not do unto others what, in your mind, would bring you evil" (Hindu tradition); "Do not do unto others what you do not want them to do to you" (Confucian tradition); "None of you is a believer if he does not desire for his brother what he desires for himself" (Islamic tradition), etc. Cf. A. Fossion, Passion de Dieu, Passion de l'homme (Brussels: De Boeck, 1985) 22.
  2. In philosophy, the "golden rule" is at the center of Kantian morality (1724-1804): "Act in such a way as to treat humanity, both in your person as in the person of all others, always at the same time, as an end and never simply as a means." And, as in all the great moral traditions of humanity, Kant sets in relief the universal scope of this rule: "Perform no action except according to such a maxim that will also imply its being a universal law; such only, then, that the will may be considered itself as constituting, through its maxim, universal legislation at the same time." Cf. Emmanuel Kant, Fondement de la métaphysique des mœurs (Paris: Delagrave, 1959) 150 f. and 159.
  3. See, for example, Mt 5:38 ff; 7:12 ff; 22:34. Lk 6:31; Jn 13:34 f.
  4. Cf. Gn 4:10; Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17; Rm 1:29-32; Jn 8:39-44; 1 Jn 3:12-15; Ap 21:8; 22:15.
  5. Cf. Gaudium et Spes 51; Canon 1398. The teaching of the Church on abortion is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270-2275.

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